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The assassination of Mako Tabuni: the AFP is the devil in everyone’s democratic aspirations!

Categories: Asia-Pacific, Australian Federal Police, Genocide, Human Rights, Indonesia, International Law, Justice, Law Enforcement, Rule of Law, United Nations

by: Bakchos
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…I show vice triumphing everywhere, and virtue as the victim of its own sacrifices, I show an unfortunate woman wandering from misfortune to misfortune, a plaything of wickedness and vice; who is stunned by the boldest and most specious sophisms; and who is prey to the most skilful seductions, the most irresistible subordinations; a woman who has only the tenderness of her soul, a sensitive heart, a natural spirit and great courage with which to oppose the great number of reverses and so many plagues, and to push back corruption. In a word, I have painted the boldest dangers, the most extraordinary situations, and the most alarming maxims, with the most energetic strokes of the pen, for the sole purpose of obtaining from it one of the most sublime moral lessons that man has ever received. It is all so that one can arrive at the goal by a road not much travelled until now.

The Marquis De Sade – Justine, or The Misfortunes of Virtue

West Papua Rally, March 2012 courtesy Blak and Black

Vice: virtue turned on its head

The BBC is reporting that Mr Mako Tabuni one of Papua’s most vocal independence activists was shot dead on Thursday by troops from the Australian funded and trained Detachment 88 counter-terror troops. Detachment 88 was formed after the hideous Bali bombing in 2002 and was (and remains) primarily trained and bankrolled by the United States and Australia via the Australian Federal Police (“AFP”). As expected from such a counter terrorist unit, the group is trained in hostage rescue, defusing bombs, surveillance techniques and interrogation, etc. As such, their purpose is to locate and destroy (“pre-emptive strikes”) Islamic terrorist groups – that operate within Indonesia’s borders.

Accusations of Abuse and Torture: Much like its sister service, Kopassus, Detachment 88 has been accused by many groups of torture and systematic abuse of Indonesian citizenry. Amnesty International released a statement (dated August 4th, 2010) in which they reported that Detachment 88 uses illegal detention and torture. In the statement, Amnesty Notes:

Detachment 88 police officers, who have regularly been accused of involvement in torture, arrested the activists on 2nd August [2010]. The activists had been planning to use a visit by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to Maluku province on 3 August to draw attention to human rights violations there.

We fear these activists are at risk of extremely brutal treatment given the record of Detachment 88” said Donna Guest, Asia-Pacific Deputy Director for Amnesty International. Independence activists in Maluku have been tortured with impunity by police in the past

Amnesty International is not the only group to report their concern. Human Rights Watch (HRW) has also reported on these abuses. In June 2010, HRW released a report entitled Prosecuting Political Aspiration which also noted abuses by Detachment 88.

In response to a question asked by Australian Senator Trood on 22 February 2011, the AFP responded with:

The involvement of the AFP in training programs at JCLEC allows the AFP to impress on regional counterparts some of the values the AFP holds such as human rights and ethics in policing.

The principles of human rights are embedded in all JCLEC programs and police accountability is incorporated in scenario-based activities.

So much for the ability of the AFP “to impress on regional counterparts some of the values the AFP holds such as human rights and ethics in policing” or perhaps the activities of Detachment 88 that both Amnesty and HRW have criticised are the same ones that “the AFP holds”!

The assassination of Mako Tabuni

Indonesian security forces claim that Mr Tabuni was killed after resisting arrest in the Indonesian occupied town of Jayapura, Papua’s main town. He was wanted by the Indonesian authorities “for causing unrest in the province” a euphemism for demanding his civil and political rights, rights that are innate to all human beings. In fact Part 3 article 6 of the United Nations International covenant on Civil and Political Rights states that:

Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life

Activists and human rights groups say Mr Tabuni was unarmed when he was shot. Mr Tabuni was at the time of his assassination one of the key leaders of the Papuan independence movement and had repeatedly called for the Indonesian government to hold a referendum in the province.

Human rights groups say when police tried to arrest Mr Tabuni, he ran away. The Papua-based human rights group ELSAM has told Radio Australia’s Asia Pacific program police were responsible for the shooting, stating that:

Mako Tabuni with his friends, they went out from his house and maybe five to 10 metres from his house three cars, which are used by police, came to him and the police went out from three cars and they shot him.

After being shot, Mr Tabuni was taken by the Indonesian police to the police hospital in Jayapura, where he reportedly died from his wounds soon after arrival. It has been reported that the Kapolres (police chief) has told media outlets that Mr Tabuni was killed because he resisted arrest and attempted to seize weapons from some Detachment 88 troops. However Indonesian police have been inconsistent on this issue.

The Indonesian Government blames the West Papua National Committee (KNPB), for which Mr Tabuni was the secretary-general, for a series of unexplained shootings in recent weeks and ordered a police crack-down on its supporters.

Supporters of Mr Tabuni have reacted angrily to the news of his death, taking to the streets and allegedly burning houses belonging to military and police in the Ruko, Waena and Abepura areas.

According to reports form the BBC and ABC, Indonesian security forces are out in force in Jayapura targetting associates of Mr Tabuni with orders to shoot rioters dead on sight. Almost certainly this would create a extremely volatile situation. The question needs to be asked, who is damaging property, the security forces of supporters of Mr Tabuni.

A tribute to a fallen warrior

West Papua Rally, March 2012 courtesy Blak and Black

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin’d choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou seest the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire
Consumed with that which it was nourish’d by.
This thou perceivest, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.

Shakespeare Sonnet 73

Will you sign the petition calling for a Royal Commission into the Australian Federal Police?


  1. The price of corruption or is Australia just ‘tugging the forelock’ to the yellow hords? Not sure, either way its a high human price to pay for being a coward. Australia, you are a shameful nation.

  2. One less blackfella to worry about in Papua, what a win for the interests of greed. What was this mans crime? He wanted justice for himself and his people. Not just-us, but real justice – the penalty for such a request, no demand was DEATH!!! Some real just-us there!

  3. Australia needs to show some leadership on West Papua. If Canberra is really looking for a seat at the UNSC it must as part of that process demonstrate that it can make the hard decisions. West Papua is one of those hard decisions. Canberra time to step up to the plate or stand down.

  4. Greed and a lck of leadership allows things like this to happen. Not only do they happen, but they happen on a regular basis where ever Australia treads. Some food for thought.

  5. Just another form of genocide – a slower more surgical genocide, but genocide all the same.

  6. Why is Australia still dealing with D88? Because we’re too scared to make a stand for what is just. Talk about sefl-interest.

  7. Mick Donaldson as you say, Australia lacks the courage to stand up to Indonesia on this important human rights issue.

  8. Another case of a yellow man doing a white mans dirty business for a few coins. What is happening in West Papua is nothing short of genocide.

  9. Australia’s involvement with organisations such as D88 shows a complete lack of empathy with the sufferings of the people of West Papua. For sure D88 will survive with out Australian help, it is a matter of principle that Australia’s makes a stand on the issue. I know that morw refugee boats will get through and that Indonesia will probably stop helping Australia in other areas, but what price a human life?

  10. Mahmud Ahsan via Facebook says:

    Marie McCray Australia needs to come of age – part of coming to age is to show leadership – where is Australia’s leadership on the West Papua issue?

  11. A small step along the road to the complete genocide of the West Papuan people.

  12. A tragedy of monumental proportions has the potential to follow from this act of sensless violence.

  13. Assassination by any other name is murder!

  14. Yes Susan Rendall assassination is another word for murder, its also a provocative act with the potential to create a situation where the Javanese military will have an excuse to further their campaign of ethnic clearing in West Papua – a not so subtle form of genocide.

  15. Bet the AFP didn’t like the connection to de Sade. Nice work. Probably the quote would have worked better with a post about Ms King, but it can be recycled.

  16. Anne Shiny via Facebook says:

    Indeed it can, Mick Madden.

  17. As you said in your response to another post Mick Madden whereever white man goes death follows. While D88 may have done the dirty work here, the puppet masters were the mining industry, including Anglo-Australian Rio Tinto.

  18. Estelle Dunlop your comment gives new meaning to a famous Catholic pray accompanied by a set of footprints in the sand. God is carrying his brother, now his brother is killing his younger brother in the name of greed.

  19. Unfortunatly for them West Papua is getting today what Aboriginal Australia got 200 years ago – oppression, racism, genocide – the crime is the same, the motive is the same and guess what… All in the name of greed.

  20. Where the AFP tread, death and destruction follow!

  21. hey Richard Millhouse it’s actually where whitie treads blackfella’s deaths follow!

  1. […] of Mako Tabuni Australia, Indonesia, News, West PapuaJune 16, 2012Originally published on Blak and BlackThat time of year thou mayst in me behold When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang Upon those […]

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